Currently I work in a job where there is no union. I've been in unions before. I've picketed and been on strike. I've gained important benefits and fair pay, but those are not the only reasons I am a proud union supporter.
I'm a proud union supporter because: Unions allowed my mom to stay home and raise 8 children; Unions provided all of us with quality health care; I grew up with security and stability because of unions; My neighborhood was very nice for a working class neighborhood because of unions; When I needed expensive spinal surgery as a boy I got it because of unions; When my father successfully had a large tumor removed from his pituitary gland it was due to unions; Unions gave my mother the health care she needed when she got ovarian cancer the first time, and then when it came back again, and then again when she needed hospice care; Unions allowed my parents to retire without fear of the future, with a nice pension to supplement their social security and to this day unions are taking good care of my father.
Dad worked for a power company for almost 40 years. He started out as a lineman and was out repairing downed lines all night during the worst weather conditions. He was drafted into WWII in the middle of his senior year in High School, came back and got his HS degree, and didn't attend college. But he was smart, a hard worker, and a good leader. Unions gave him the opportunity to excel and to move into the middle class and to eventually work in the white collar world. He was a union steward and never lost his loyalty to unions and never forgot how his union helped him, his co-workers, and his neighbors. Each one of his 8 children are union supporters and vocal democrats.
Many of the people I grew up with could tell similar stories about their parents, but through the miracle of Facebook I find way too many of them eager to repeat FuxNews talking points, or they support teabaggy politics. This speaks to the power of 30 years of conservative propaganda. Without scolding I am not shy about waving my union flag in front of them and I hope to remind them of where they came from: a working class, immigrant community of union workers. Whether or not I penetrate the conservative bubble doesn't matter to me--I'm just expressing my thanks and pride in the legacy of unions and the continuing role unions play in making the American dream more real and less of a nightmare.